News from Notch Consulting, Inc.

May 22, 2008

Flexsys to Close UK Factory – Exiting DPG, TMQ, PVI Segments

Filed under: Rubber Chemicals — Notch @ 2:55 pm

On May 21, Solutia announced that its Flexsys subsidiary plans to cease manufacturing at its factory in Ruabon, Wales, by the end of 2008, with complete exit of the site exit by the end of 2011. With this closure, Flexsys will exit the market for three product lines currently manufactured at Ruabon: Santogard PVI pre- vulcanization inhibitors; Perkacit DPG, a secondary accelerator; and Flectol TMQ and Flectol HPG, which are antioxidants (Flectol HPG is a high performance grade of TMQ).

The Ruabon Works at Wrexham is the only Flexsys plant in the United Kingdom. Within Europe, Flexsys also has rubber chemical plants (including insoluble sulfur) in Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands and Germany; other rubber chemicals plants are located in the US, Brazil, Japan and Malaysia.

From the Flexsys press release:

“This action is part of our strategy to strengthen the profitable, market-leading positions that Flexsys holds across most of its portfolio, while taking steps to limit our exposure in smaller product lines where Flexsys is no longer cost competitive,” said Jim Voss, president of Flexsys and senior vice president of Solutia Inc.

Voss added, “Our Ruabon site makes three product lines for which the market is over-supplied due to emerging competition from Far Eastern producers. Despite the significant steps our Ruabon management and employees have taken to improve the position of the site, it is unfortunately no longer cost competitive on a global scale. We will work to ensure the employees impacted by this change are treated the right way, and that our customers have a smooth transition to a new supply arrangement.”

According to the Flintshire Standard, a local paper, the closure will cost 162 jobs. The plant has been in operation for more than a century and is one of the oldest industrial sites in North Wales, according to another local paper, the Daily Post. It was first opened in 1867 to extract oils and wax from shale. Monsanto entered into partnership with the site in 1919 to produce vanillin, salicylic acid, aspirin and later rubber. Production of rubber chemicals began at the site in 1930, according to an informative 2003 profile of the Ruabon Works at Manufacturer.

Credit to European Rubber Journal (subscription required) for the news.

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